West German Pottery

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West German Pottery

Postby HBS Guy » 29 Jul 2018, 17:33

Is pottery produced from the 1940s to 1970s mainly in West Germany, the second most prolific centre being Italy but a few other European countries produced a bit too.

Imagine you are a potter or designer in Germany in the 30s on. Hitler closed the Bauhaus and forbade production of Art Deco items—not in accord with nazi theology. All the terror of the Gestapo, the Holocaust then WWII and Germany flattened, divided, helpless. Ruins everywhere in Germany. What sort of art would you produce? Grey, boring utilitarian? You’d think, eh?

THIS is what they produced:
Image

And:
Image

And:
Image

The most immediate, and the most important thing is the outré glaze.
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Re: West German Pottery

Postby HBS Guy » 29 Jul 2018, 18:34

Looking at the top shelf in the first image, the first two items from the left of the photo are studio pieces from the 1940s. From two different studios tho there are a LOT of similarities in the two pieces, especially the lines or scratches through the glaze.

These pieces are part of an immediate postwar movement called “Deco Echo.” Recall that Art Deco was verboten during the nasty nazi years. So Art Deco got revived in Germany, briefly, but in an different way, using curves not the typical angular geometry

Next to that is the third piece, the blue and black vase, also from a studio (as opposed to a commercial factory) but from the 50s IIRC with a more typical thick glaze with volcanic sort of texture to the glaze. This leads to the most commonly used term for this pottery: fat lava.

Looking at some of the items of fat lava I collected you can see drip glaze and “volcanic” textures.

OK, back to the top shelf of the first image: look at the second item from the right. What is the word that immediately comes to mind? Flamboyant, very likely! Just LOOK at that fucking handle! However, also look at the curve under the spout: aggressive and forward looking, art is going to redeem Germany! This item is one of my favorites despite many items being more expensive and rather older (have a couple bits Roman terra cotta from the 4th century AD! I LOVE the lines of it! (it has a tiny chip or production fault so I got it cheap, $80 + postage I think.

It is an item from the Ruscha factory, design by Kurt Tschörner. Item 313, very famous. Mine is the original design with all its famous curves, it wasn’t very practical, a lot of pieces got broken on being taken out the mold. It is keen and still has that Deco Echo going!

The red glaze on it is not as thick as the glazes got later. Look at the bottom shelf in the first picture. On the extreme left is a little piece in the shape of an owl and the fourth piece, between the vase with the yachts and the bigger coffee and cream piece, shows the “volcanic” glaze.

Second image, bottom shelf, the yellow vase and the brown and blue vase in the background show the drip glaze that is another feature of “fat lava” that supposedly shows lava flowing down the volcanic cone.

Second image top shelf, the blue piece that looks a bit like a dalek is an Italian fat lava piece. Alas, it was quite late and all the textural bits came from the mold: originally these were put in by a worker and the edges of the various shaped pits were smooth. Gave it to a niece :bgrin but I also gave her the piece with the yachts which is really nice—wanted to concentrate more on 1950s pieces.

Third image, the piece that looks like cracked soil, is from Jopeka, one of their distinctive glazes. They also made a gold glaze. You will see a lot of cups etc with a gilt line at the top or edge etc. This is painted on after the firing of the piece. The Jopeka items the gold was part of the glaze, MUCH harder to do. I have such a piece with gold glaze but don’t have a picture of it.

I have been talking about West Germany but, of course, back then there was an East Germany. Look at this photo:

Image

The grey vase at the back, next to the tall greenish bottle, is from East Germany. Gramann, Töpferei Römhild, pioneered the pumice or volcanic look. I have a couple of pieces of it, also one or two other East German pieces but most of it was uninspired—well, repressive Communist government what do you expect? See the left-most piece, cream and green, bit boring eh?


All in all, the fat lava “movement” produced a fair bit of tourist trap junk. It also produced some very nice pieces and radical glazes!

A lot of the pieces were produced by a factory called Scheurich which was more derivative than artistic. However, it made some really big vases (“floor vases”) that make very nice bits of interior decoration. Some of the, errrr, more garish nononono Monk, the errrr brighter pieces really light up a dark corner.

Hmmm MUST mention one more factory. First image, bottom shelf, the 4 items on the right side of the shelf, all come from the same factory, Dummler und Breiden. They made the biggest variety or items and most were of high quality. Unfortunately, they did not survive the end of the “fat lava” period. They did sgraffito pieces, some nice bright glazes and stuff nobody else did.

Fat lava pieces are not that expensive and there are pieces to suit every taste and we all have a corner somewhere that could do with some livening up!

To find out more, have a look at: http://ginforsodditiques.com/ You better like cats!


Ummm when I started getting interested in fat lava I realised Mum had a few pieces of it already! So I laid claim to them!
Abbott & Co are going to cause the mother and father of all recessions—be prepared!
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Re: West German Pottery

Postby HBS Guy » 04 Aug 2018, 08:34

I would love to buy more pieces from 40s to early 60s including some really top incised work but better keep the money for building my house. Probably give a few more pieces to nieces, two of whom do collect a few items. One is mad about frogs, hmmm better look for some nice frogiana.

I take Mum to see her granddaughter living quite a way away and we stay there a few days, I give niece, her bubby & young son presents for putting us up. Some frogs—but niece also wants other stuff! ahahahaha! Less stuff to pack for eventual move to Tassie sounds good. Probably have some porcelain pieces I can give.
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